So what the heck is social media?
No longer are the interruption methods of gaining new customers working. People are turning off traditional media. They’re moving to social media. If your not joining the conversation, rest assured your competition will be.
Social media sites such as Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and many others have exploded onto the scene in recent years and are currently taking the internet by storm. As is with every new technology there will be a shake out and the true winner will emerge, as well as the inevitable battle that will be fought by these sites against content spammers and unscrupulous users. We are calling this new form of abuse “Spocial Media” for Spam and Social Media.
We even have a site we will develop soon called http://spocialmedia.com that will help people tell the difference and assist the technical departments of social media sites to identify this kind of internet behavior.
This same shake out happened in the late 90′s with the growth of email, and even before that with the first newsgroups on the internet. Every time a new technology comes out, first there are the early adopters that start using the technology, and just about the time the technology starts to get traction and hit mass appeal, somebody figures out how to try to exploit vulnerabilities of the system to make money. This process with social media is just beginning, and you are probably wondering what boat you are missing, or possibly what social media could do for you.
In a nutshell, as it exists today Social Media is a great way to extend yourself as a brand onto the internet, but only if you are willing to truly have a dialogue with your customers. The reason is that social media by its nature is, well, social, and with all these sites, communication is really two way, unless you are Oprah. Even Oprah follows people on twitter though, interestingly enough.
SO HOW DO I PROFIT FROM SOCIAL MEDIA?
The truth of the matter is social media has increased one’s ability to create word of mouth.
This answer can’t possibly be the same for everyone reading this page but we’ll take a stab at it.
There are a few main benefits from using social media, you can always call us at 800-920-1985 and we’ll try to figure out if the benefits outweigh the costs in your particular case, but here are the main benefits as we see them right now:
1) Internet advertising rates in pay per click, even with the current economic climate are continuing to rise. Social Media has a lot smaller cost associated with it, being mostly time and labor, and advertising on these sites is a comparative bargain. We may see the same thing that happened with pay per click advertising, but for now cost per acquisition of new customers is pretty favorable as an advertiser in many markets, and very cost effective for basic social media users.
2) By really participating in social media, you can get lots of links to your sites and other web properties, which can help your natural search engine rankings. Some social media sites are much more helpful in this than others. Nevertheless there has never been a faster way to get links, and with that, visitors to your site or profile.
3) If you actually participate, your customers really get to know you and your company much better, and you will have instant feedback you can use to improve your products or services before they are even launched.
4) If you use them correctly, you can also leverage the knowledge and skills of other people to learn things by tapping their vast pool of experiences, which really is senior to a search. Think about it. Instead of going to a search engine, finding some sites of people you don’t know, reading them all, trying to sort through the wheat from the chaff, you could just say “hey does anyone have any experience with this…” and find somebody instantly who already went through that whole process, found what worked for them and is now sharing that with you. Very Powerful.
Corporations do fear this new world that puts the consumers in control, but smart entrepeneurs see it as a great opportunity to improve their products and services and stay competitive.
5) You may have no choice because your competitors are all getting into social media and if you are one of the last it will be very hard to play catch up in this area.
There are very definite dos and dont’s with social media however, and you really have to go into it with a strategy and endgame in mind. If you want help with your strategy, or want to attend a free webinar that explains social media in much more detail.